A friend in Meimei
Story and Photos by Judy A. Maxwell
It was a show-and-tell like no other. The fourth-grade students at Morgan County Elementary School heard and saw what it is like to wear a prosthetic leg when 7-year-old Meimei White of Macon visited their school in April after their classmate, Anaiah Rucker, returned to school about two months after she was severely injured in a car accident.
Anaiah, 10, lost her left leg and suffered other injuries when she stepped into the path of a pickup truck the morning of Feb. 4 in an effort to save her little sister from being hit. The current focus of ABC TV’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” Anaiah and her family have attracted the support of local residents as well as people who live outside Morgan County. Meimei is part of the latter.
The girl was born in China with a birth defect called “a little leg,” meaning her right leg was barely formed. Kelley White, Meimei’s mother, said the company that made Meimei’s prosthetic called her after learning about Anaiah’s situation and asked her to extend a helping hand to the fourth-grader and her family.
Last week, the Whites were at the “Extreme Makeover” build site on Bell Circle in Madison to lend support to the show’s intent to build the Rucker family a home. “It took us six years to learn how to give Meimei freedom with prostheses and all that is available to help her,” said Kelley White. “Hopefully, we can save them [the Rucker family] from a lot of trouble.”
And, said White, “it’s really important that kids who wear prosthetics see other kids who are experiencing the same thing.”
Meimei’s visit to the class last spring was the brainchild of Anaiah’s teachers, Christen Seabolt and Lori West. “I told them I can do anything,” said Meimei, while having lunch July 12 in the VIP tent at the “Extreme Makeover” build site. “I do a lot of sports. I can do anything – baseball, soccer, swimming, running – anything.” The little girl removes her prosthetic leg when she is swimming, and she and her older sister Mackenzie, 13, will compete in states swim championship next week.
Printed in the July 21, 2011 edition